Video: GEICO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas Wins The AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Championship At Homestead-Miami Speedway


Martin Cardenas and GEICO Suzuki clinched the 2012 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Championship at the penultimate round of the series, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The September 22-23 Triumph Big Kahuna weekend provided variable weather conditions; Martin finished second in the dry on Saturday, then rode a conservative race in the wet on Sunday to wrap up his second AMA Pro Championship with one round to spare.

GEICO’s Cardenas Clinches Second Daytona SportBike Championship

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 23) — The first rain race of the 2012 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Road Racing ended with Martin Cardenas under a shower of confetti as he officially clinched the GoPro Daytona SportBike championship with a safe fourth-place result Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

This is the second class championship for Cardenas in the last three years. He won the 2010 Daytona SportBike title before switching to Superbike last season. The 29-year-old Colombian returned to Daytona SportBike this year with the GEICO Suzuki team and leads the class with seven race wins and 12 overall podium finishes.

“It feels great to get this done with a little extra room to spare,” Cardenas said. “We built up a pretty good points lead earlier in the season and it has been stressful at time maintaining the gap. You always want to race to win each weekend but when you have a big lead in the points you also feel as though you don’t want to make a big mistake.

“Every race and every lap since maybe the middle of the summer has been a test. You stay very focused on limiting your mistakes and just riding to the best of your abilities. We have been able to do that this year and I’m very pleased.”

Cardenas was quick to thank his many sponsors, including GEICO Motorcycle, Suzuki, Lucas Oil, Team Hammer, M4, Arai, STG, Vortex, Hot Bodies, Alpine Stars, Speedcell and Galfer.

“How can you ever thank your sponsors enough?” Cardenas said. “Their support of this team gives us the ability to race at a championship level. I am very grateful for all of them.

“This race team is the best. Frank Aragaki (crew chief), Aaron Henry, Nathan Raptis, Rick Kress, Tim Anderson, Scott Crawford, James Siddall, and Chris and John Ulrich — all of them were instrumental to winning this championship.”

With one race left on the schedule, the Big Kahuna New Orleans, Oct. 5-7, at the NOLA facility in Louisiana, Cardenas remains focused on finishing strong, not what he’ll be doing next year.

“Now we can ride with no worries and try to get a couple more trophies at NOLA,” Cardenas said. “Of course, there are rumors about my return to Superbike but nothing has been decided. Maybe that will change before NOLA. I don’t know. We’ll have to see what happens. For now, we will race the GEICO Suzuki and try to win again.”

Runner-Up Finish Draws Cardenas Within A Breath Of 2012 Championship

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 22) — GEICO Suzuki pro Martin Cardenas put a virtual stranglehold on the 2012 GoPro Daytona SportBike championship Saturday with a strong second-place finish in the first of two GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing races this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The 29-year-old Cardenas, who won the Daytona SportBike class in 2010, finishes the day 83 points ahead of Dane Westby, the only rider left with a mathematical chance of winning it all. Saturday’s winner, Cameron Beaubier, was officially eliminated from championship contention.

“I had a great start, got the holeshot, and led the first two laps,” Cardenas said. “Cameron got around me and just pulled a gap. He was very good, especially early in the race. I tried to keep on his pace but I just couldn’t.

“I began focusing on the guys behind me. Bobby and Dane were both on my rear wheel at various times. My pit board seemed to say 0.0 (gap) every time I went by so I knew I needed to ride perfect laps. I think maybe once or twice I made small mistakes but it didn’t hurt me.

“Towards the end I put my head down and increased the pace a little. I picked up a small gap, maybe one second or so on Bobby, and just concentrated on finishing strong in this race.”

The main goal of the day was to finish ahead of Westby, Cardenas’ teammate at Team Hammer. Westby started the day 76 behind Cardenas and lost seven more points with his fourth-place result. The maximum number of points that a single rider could earn this year is 94.

“We wanted to increase the points lead today, if possible, to get us closer to the championship,” Cardenas said. “We didn’t expect to clinch it this race because of the points difference but maybe tomorrow. The main thing is that we improve a little on today’s performance and try to give Cameron a challenge.”

Cardenas has a class-leading seven victories and 12 podium finishes this season.

The second race of the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami is scheduled for 2:15 p.m., Sunday. SPEED TV will air all of Saturday and Sunday’s action.

Another Srong Start For GEICO Suzuki Pro Cardenas

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 21) — The penultimate event of the 2012 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series has arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway and championship points leader Martin Cardenas already has established himself as a favorite.

Cardenas opened qualifying for the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami with a steady 1:25.745 lap around the 14-turn, 2.21-mile circuit, good enough for the second slot in the provisional field of the GoPro Daytona SportBike category. Cameron Beaubier was first with a 1:24.645.

“I did what I could; there was no holding back,” said Cardenas, who holds a hefty 76-point lead in the standings. “We only used one set of tires that session to see if they could go the distance so there were no big times coming from our team at the end of the session. I just rode the course and found a comfortable line.”

Weather always is a factor in South Florida, although despite some heavy cloud cover at times it remained mostly rain-free throughout the day.

“The weather was a little unstable both times out but we managed to get some dry time on the track and work on some things,” Cardenas said. “We changed rear shocks between practice and qualifying and it seemed to respond. I think there is more to get and perhaps we can improve.

“If it’s dry in the morning then I think the top group of riders will all be quicker. It’s hard to tell what will happen. The humidity changes can be very dramatic here. I know the GEICO Suzuki team will be prepared for anything that might come our way.”

Qualifying resumes with a second and final session at 8:50 a.m., Saturday, which will set the field for both races. Race 1 takes place at 2 p.m., Saturday, with Race 2 slated for 2:15 p.m., Sunday. SPEED TV will carry all the action.